Your questions answered: Workplace measures, self-isolation requirements, and more

June 12, 2020 - Defence Stories

Ask Anything: COVID-19

Below is some information addressing the most common questions we have recently received via Ask Anything: COVID-19, grouped by theme.

We remind you to contact your manager or chain of command first; they have the most accurate information that can address your question, keeping in mind the local public health situation and the specific circumstances of your workplace and operational requirements.

Visit the Resuming work FAQs and stay tuned for more information and updates in response to your questions.

Workplace measures and compliance

We all need to work together and share the responsibility to ensure our workspaces are safe. The DM and the CDS issued two joint directives that outline the expectations for staff and for managers:

Joint CDS/DM Directive for the Resumption of Activities

DM/CDS joint directive - DND/CAF COVID-19 public health measures and personal protection

Before anyone returns to a physical location, they will have had an in-depth discussion about what they can expect, and what will be expected of them. Once back on site, it will be up to managers to help ensure that protocols are followed. If an individual is not adhering to health and safety requirements, normal administrative and disciplinary processes should be followed.

All members must report immediately if they believe that they have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19 and they must comply with public health directed testing and isolation/quarantine procedures.

We recognize that there will be stress and anxiety related to returning to the workplace and that feelings towards returning will be different for each employee depending on their personal circumstances. Remember, the return will be gradual and done in accordance with all public health measures.

In the meantime, if your employees are able to perform their duties from home, managers are encouraged to explore this option. If your team must be on site as business resumes, assure your employees that all public health advisories and measures are being implemented. We recommend that you to provide them with any and all information demonstrating the measures that have been and are being taken to protect their health and safety.

Engagement with the Local Occupational Health and Safety committee is also recommended. Should employees still not want to report, they will need to exercise their right to refuse work under the Canada Labour Code. Contact your General Safety Officer or General Safety (D Safe G, VCDS) – OHSSecretariatSST@forces.gc.ca.

If the employee has a specific vulnerability (i.e. elderly age category based on GC COVID-19 guidelines, compromised immune system, etc.), they must make a written, signed statement to that effect, and commit to providing a medical certificate to substantiate at a future date.

If you or your team members need to talk to someone for assistance coping with the stress and anxiety of the situation, there are a number of tools and resources available for you on the Defence Team COVID-19 website.

Self-isolation requirements

The Defence Team is following guidance and directives from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and local public health authorities. For any questions about who should self-isolate, when, and how, refer to PHAC and your local public health authority by visiting the Defence Team COVID-19 website.

Please consult with your local public health authority for guidance related to self-isolation and self-quarantine. Additionally, you can find more information regarding returning from travel from the following Government of Canada webpage: www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

COVID-19 testing

As noted in the Joint CDS/DM Directive for the Resumption of Activities, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will not acquire or field a rapid testing capability for COVID-19 in the three-month horizon, requiring continued reliance on provincial/territorial or contracted processing facilities and disciplined application of public health measures. Independent testing capability for the CAF is envisioned for Stage 4 of Business Resumption.

Working remotely – Defence O365

To support the Defence Team to continue working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, ADM(IM) is rolling out Defence O365, a Microsoft Office 365 platform, to all personnel. For more information, visit the Working remotely web page.

Keep an eye on your O365 inbox because the Defence Team messages will be coming there soon, in addition to your regular work email.

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